Munhamek earns shot at the Winter Championships Final

Nick Ryan knows Munhamek’s lengthy and fruitful campaign must end at some time, but the indefatigable gelding is not exactly demanding a rest.

The Flemington trainer’s stable star made it career win number 12 when he made light work of 61.5kg to win Saturday’s $150,000 The David Bourke at Flemington.

The 1620-metre event is a qualifier for the $200,000 Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) at the same track on July 6 and Ryan said he might be forced to not only head there with him but consider the Group 2 Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).

“It’s hard to stop when they’re going this well, isn’t it?,” Ryan said.

“We’ll see what weight he gets, I suppose, but it’s two weeks (away) and then we’ve got those early weight-for-age races.

“He’s got that much residual fitness; he’s been in work about 15 months.

“We’ll have a board meeting on Monday morning, I’m sure, and we’ll discuss it but he’s an eight-year-old, rising nine-year-old gelding in this form, so it might be strike while the iron’s hot.”

The David Bourke victory was the second in a row for Munhamek, who won the Swan Hill Cup, on June 9, in what was the 12th start of a campaign that began with a luckless third placing in the Group 2 The Damien Oliver (1400m) at Flemington on Derby Day.

The son of Dark Angel, who started his career in England and came to Australia via Hong Kong, famously also won the $1.5m The Damien Oliver Gold Rush (1400m) in December under Oliver at what was the Hall of Fame jockey’s final ride in Australia.

Billy Egan was called up for Saturday’s ride after Celine Gaudray was a late withdrawal due to illness and called on knowledge from his only other ride aboard the backmarker – a win in last year’s Listed Spear Chief Handicap in Brisbane – to formulate a plan.

After settling towards the rear one horse off the fence, Egan peeled the $7.50 chance with betting apps towards the outside to unwind a big finish and get home by a long-neck from King Magnus ($7.50) with Windstorm ($13) just a short-half-head away third.

“There was nice speed and he just went to sleep for me out the back and I just let him cruise into it,” Egan said.

“I exposed him early, but just because I wanted to have an uninterrupted run when the horses on-speed were going to come back into our laps a little bit.

“They had us on the stretch for a little bit and it took a while to reel them in, but he just kept sustaining a gallop and they probably just got a little bit weak late.”

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